Rose GardenEdith (Magnusson) Griner, first daughter and third child of James Peter and Marie (Pierson) Magnusson, was born on May 23, 1887, at Sandy, Salt Lake County, Utah. In that same year, her parents came to the Arizona Territory, where her father found employment in the Goldfield Mine, at the base of the Superstition Mountains, east of Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona Territory. The family lived in a tent at the mining camp, and Edith's bed was the top of an old trunk.

Later, the family moved to Mesa, where Edith's father built a one-room adobe house on two-and-a-half acres of land on North MacDonald Street. Edith, being the oldest girl, had a large responsibility in the raising of her eight younger siblings. Her brothers and sisters all said that she was a second mother to them. Often she had a younger brother or sister just barely out of the baby stage sleeping with her so her mother could give full attention to a new baby.

Edith attended grade school and high school in Mesa. She worked at the telephone company, and did ironing for neighbors. She also worked in the home of a seamstress who taught her how to sew and make patterns. Edith became an excellent seamstress, making her own patterns from catalog pictures. She made dresses, and altered hand-me-down clothes for her sisters and later for her own children.

A friend of Edith's introduced Edith to her brother-in-law, Mernice Linton Griner. After their courtship, Edith and Mernice traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, where they were married on October 3, 1912, in the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Temple. The couple returned to Mesa, where Mernice was employed as a postman.  Edith registered to vote on March 9, 1913, in Maricopa County, Arizona, describing herself as being five feet, two inches tall, weighing 135 pounds, and having black hair. 

Edith and Mernice had four children: Mernice Rondo, born April 14, 1914; Edith Marie, born May 21, 1920; Ruby Annette, born March 25, 1922; and James Merwin, born February 11, 1925.  In addition to being a mother and homemaker, Edith was very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in which Mernice, Sr. was a first a bishop and then a patriarch.

Edith's family remembers her as having a marvelous, quick wit even in her last years. She was a survivor who never complained, but just did the tasks that needed doing.  Edith died on January 1, 1979, and was buried in the Mesa Cemetery in Mesa, Arizona.

Donor: Mernice and Marie Alkire, March 2000
Photo Located:  RGC MS-39, F-Griner, Edith (Magnusson)
Updated: 04/06/2017, D. Sue Kissel